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An Easy Way To Find Opportunities For Contributions To Debian Packages

By sk
Published: Last Updated on 231 views

Howdy developers! Today, I've come up with a cool tip for you. For those who wanted to contribute to Debian, there is a program called "how-can-i-help". As the name says, whenever you install or upgrade a package with apt, the "how-can-i-help" utility lists some beginner level bugs or packages that needs help or maintainers. You can pick any one or all of them and help to improve or fix the bugs.

Currently, how-can-i-help program lists the following opportunities for contribution:

  • Packages where help is needed, including orphaned ones (from WNPP. It stands for Work-Needing and Prospective Packages)
  • Bugs suitable for new contributors (tagged 'newcomer')
  • Bugs affecting Debian infrastructure (tagged 'newcomer')
  • Packages removed from Debian 'testing'
  • Packages going to be removed from Debian 'testing'

how-can-i-help - List opportunities for contributions to Debian Packages

The how-can-i-help package is available in the official repositories, so you can install using APT as shown below.

$ sudo apt-get install how-can-i-help

That's it. It will display the opportunities for contribution to the locally installed DEB packages after every APT transactions (like install, update and upgrade packages).

Now install a package, for instance lynx.

$ sudo apt-get install lynx
Install a package

Install a package

As you in the above screenshot, after installing the lynx package, how-can-i-help program displays the list of opportunities for contribution to lynx package. So, you can decide how can you help to contribute to lynx package. Just open the URLs given in the output and see what you can do.

To find new opportunities for contribution to all available Debian packages, run:

$ how-can-i-help -a

You will see a complete list of opportunities to all available DEB packages in the result.

List opportunities for contributions to Debian Packages

List opportunities for contributions to Debian Packages

Or, you can list only specific types of opportunities. The allowed types are:

  • wnpp
  • newcomer
  • no-testing
  • testing-autorm
  • rfs
  • O
  • RFA
  • RFH
  • ITA
  • pseudo-package

For instance, to list opportunities suitable for newcomers, you can do:

$ how-can-i-help -s newcomer

To show opportunities that were already shown before, run:

$ how-can-i-help -o

The above command will also include the new opportunities too. For more details, refer the help section:

$ how-can-i-help -h


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